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That Was Easier Than Riding A Bike

, , , , , , , | Legal | June 12, 2022

I cycle to the pub and hide my bike behind a few buildings, not locked. Last orders come, and my bike isn’t there. It’s my own fault for not locking it, but no one likes to be judged, right? I have a look around and go back to the pub.

Me: “Hi, do you know if there is CCTV out the front? My bike has walked.”

Customer: “Was it locked?”

Barkeep: “I don’t think so, sorry.”

Customer: “Police won’t be interested. You won’t get it back.”

Me: *To the barkeep* “Thanks for your help.” *To the customer* “Thanks, but that isn’t what I asked, and I can deal with the authorities.”

He’s right, though. If you don’t take basic precautions, what do you expect? I report it anyway.

Me: “Hi, can I report the theft of a bicycle?” *Gives details*

Police #1: “I’ve logged that, incident [number]. I hope you get it back. Good luck.”

My phone rings soon after.

Police #2: “We have your bike here at [Police Station ten km away].”

Me: “I… How? Did somebody presume it was lost or something? I’ll come and get it in the morning.”

Police #2: “I don’t know, probably.”

My phone rings again soon after.

Me: “Bicycle theft victim answering service, how may I be of assistance?”

Police #3: “Would you like to make a statement for court?”

Me: “How can you make a statement about a lost bicycle?”

Police #3: “Actually, I confiscated it.”

Me: “Wait a minute. At 10:00 pm, I leave a $50 bike in a car park, not secured in any way. Two hours later, it is in the police station. How did that happen?”

Police #3: “I was on a foot patrol. A ten-year-old boy cycled past. I knew him, and I knew it wasn’t his bike, and I’m treating it as theft.”

Me: “Where?”

Police: #3: “On [Street the pub is on].”

Me: “Well, I can’t fault that for service. What will you do with him? Have a chat with the [jargon for officer who deals with children]?”

Police #3: “Realistically? I’ll give him a telling off with a social worker in his care home.”

I now have the full picture. At 11:00 pm, a child absconded from his care home and took my bike for a joyride. Two hundred metres away, he cycled past a cop. Game over. I was exceptionally lucky.

Me: “If it makes it easier to explain to him that taking bicycles is wrong, then I’ll make a statement.”

Police #3: “Are you one of my colleagues? You know some cop-speak.”

Me: “Not currently, but some of my in-laws are.”

My phone rings again.

Police #4: “Are you in now, and I’ll drive this bicycle out to you?”

Me: “If you can fit it into your car. It’s 0130; I would have thought you would be busy.”

Police #4: “No, it’s Tuesday. Actually, we’ll leave it to the morning; you’ve clearly had a few pints and I can’t take a drunk statement.”

Me: “See you then.”

The next morning, two detectives arrived at my house with the bicycle. They took a statement of one paragraph that basically said, “My bike wasn’t where I left it.” I thanked them profusely and assured them I would be more careful. Through unofficial channels, I heard that the conversation took place between the boy, the youth police officer, and a social worker attached to his care home.

But really, you absolutely can’t fault the service from law enforcement. Foolish man abandons cheap bicycle. Child finds it and goes for a joyride. It is confiscated from him on the same street and returned to the owner the next day. What are the odds?

The Lights Are On, No One’s Home, And It’s Not Our Problem

, , , | Right | February 25, 2022

I work for a city police dispatch department. It’s around 8:00 pm and I have just started my night shift when I receive the following call.

Caller: “I live right next to the town hall, and I’ve noticed that for the past two weeks, a couple of lights in their offices were constantly turned on. I think it’s both environmentally unfriendly and a waste of tax money to keep the lights on when nobody’s there.”

Me: “I understand, but unfortunately, unless you’ve observed anything out of the ordinary besides lights being turned on in an office building, we’re not really the right department for these types of complaints, even if it’s a public building.”

Caller: “Well, who should I call otherwise?”

Me: “You could try calling the town hall front desk during office hours.”

Caller: *Sarcastically, under his breath* “The police, your friend in need.”

This is a rough translation; a literal translation of the German phrase would be, “The police, your friend and helper,” so he’s implying that I’m not really helping him here by pointing that out.

Caller: *To me* “Well, could you give me their number?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll look it up for you.”

Caller: *Again under his breath* “You guys sure are something.”

At this point, I get fed up with his attitude. Apparently, he had two weeks to observe the lights being on, but he only got around to call some completely unrelated department about it in the evening, instead of calling the people who actually work in the building he’s complaining about during their office hours, or, you know, walking across the street from where he lives. And then he thinks he can be snarky with the police trying to help with his complaint?

Me: “Sir, I’m trying to help you, but to be frank, we’re not an information desk, and we certainly won’t dispatch police officers just because some office workers forgot to turn off the lights when they went home.”

Caller: “Those offices aren’t occupied; they’ve just left the lights turned on the entire time.”

Me: “How would you know that nobody’s in those offices during their office hours?”

Caller: “I’ve been observing them for two weeks now.”

Me: “So, you mean to tell me you’ve had two weeks to constantly observe those offices during their office hours, and yet, you decided to wait until it’s 8:00 pm to then call the police about this non-emergency issue?”

After a few seconds of silence:

Caller: “You know what? I don’t need that front desk number anymore.”

I get where he’s coming from in principle, that the lights shouldn’t be turned on the entire night when nobody’s there, but I simply can’t follow the thought process that would lead him to call the police about it and then choose to have an attitude when we tell him that his issue lies outside of our responsibility.

That’s One Way To Make A First Impression

, , , , , , , | Working | February 1, 2022

It was my first day of a paid internship, and my boss had called to ask that I arrive as early as possible. 

I was speeding a little and had just passed a bit of slow farm machinery when I got pulled over. The conversation was pretty much what you’d expect: “Do you know how fast you were going?” “What’s the rush?” “License and registration?” etc. I readily admitted to doing five over, because I was, and I said had I gotten called in to work early on my first day.

After an especially long wait of nearly twenty minutes, he returned with a warning for my speed and told me to slow down.

Two days later, I was at work, marking old paperwork to be sent to storage, when my boss entered the office with someone I’d met my first morning.

Chief: “Hey! I’d like you to meet [Officer]. [Officer]’s switching to day side, and he’ll be your go-to guy for questions.”

[Officer] just kind of looked at me. He knew me from somewhere, but he couldn’t place where. 

Officer: “I pulled you over on Monday, didn’t I?”

Me: “Sure did!”

Officer: “D***. If I had known it was the chief waiting on you, I’d have made you wait longer!”

The chief did not find it as funny as we did.

​​How To Get Arrested INSIDE A Police Station

, , , | Legal | December 15, 2021

This happened several years ago. I used to take lunch in my office in the investigations department at the police station with the door closed but not locked. Sometimes civilians who were referred to me would open the door, see me eating at my desk, apologize, and close the door to wait until I was finished, or they’d ask politely at what time they should come back. Not this guy.

He opened the door and immediately started to rant while waving some form.

Man: “They keep sending me from one office to another. I just need to get a copy of my case!”

Me: “Okay, sir, but I’m having lunch right now—”

Man: “So what? Did you come to work to have lunch?!”

I was actually so shocked by his rudeness that I left my lunch aside to take care of his issue just so he’d get out of there as quickly as possible.

If You Can’t Be On Time, Be Obscenely Early

, , , , , | Working | CREDIT: theoryofrelativetea | September 13, 2021

I get a summer job at my university working for professors that I have worked with before, and they ask me last-minute to teach a summer workshop to ninth- and tenth-graders.

So, with less than two weeks before the camp starts, I have a bunch of paperwork to do first, including “clearances” that say I can work with kids. One of these is an official FBI check, for which they need my fingerprints. I need to do the physical fingerprinting right away in order to get the result in time. Luckily, I am able to book a fingerprinting appointment for that Friday — booked twenty-four hours in advance, as required — which will be just barely enough time to get the result.

That Friday, I catch the subway to campus and it’s atrociously slow. I’ll admit that I should have planned for this; the subway here is always behind. I end up slightly late getting to campus, so I literally run to the police station and enter the front room exactly five minutes after my appointment time. I know this because, as I step through the door, I feel my phone buzz with what I later learn to be a “Your appointment has been cancelled” email.

I speak to the cop behind bulletproof glass inside and I learn that my appointment was cancelled; apparently, they are automatically cancelled if you’re not checked in within five minutes. Obviously, this is outrageous, but I’m usually a patient guy. I ask if I can book a new appointment. That’s no good, since it would have to be Monday or later.

I grab a coffee from across the street and return to sit inside the police station. I try and solve this with some Googling while I slip into a more and more frantic state of frustration. I can’t find anywhere in the city that can fingerprint me before Monday.

But here’s what really pushes me over the edge. While I’m sitting there, at this point thirty minutes past my appointment time, someone else comes in for fingerprints. She shows up five minutes early. They take her in immediately and she’s out before her appointment was even scheduled to begin. The entire thing took her about two minutes. I point out to the cop behind the glass, as politely as I can, that clearly someone could see me right now because her appointment is already over. Why can’t I have the current slot? But the cop insists that since my appointment was cancelled, my registration info is “no longer in the system” and I can’t be seen today.

That’s when the idea comes to me and I confirm with him that showing up early is not a problem, because they would have my appointment and registration info in the system. You see where I’m going with this.

I quietly sit back down and take out my phone. About ten minutes later, I calmly approach him again and say, “Hello, I have a new appointment to be fingerprinted. I’m about seventy-two hours early.”

I have never seen such an exasperated sigh in my life. But the cop checked my new confirmation number and everything was in order. Within ten minutes, I was walking back out after getting fingerprinted.


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